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Humanizing Licking County’s Public Sculpture

​NEWARK, Ohio, October 9, 2019 – Licking County's sizeable collection of public sculpture delights both young and old, residents and visitors alike. From iconic American author Mark Twain welcoming patrons at Newark's Midland Theatre, to a family of exuberant cyclists on the T. J. Evans Trail, to a whimsical circle of dancing animals on the shared campus of The Ohio State University at Newark and Central Ohio Technical College (COTC), and many others throughout the county, the sculptures extend a subtle influence on the daily lives of all experiencing them. But exactly how does public art affect a community?

Circle of Friends statues 008.jpg

Learn about the importance of public art and explore how Licking County's public sculptures may qualify as a public monument at "Humanizing Licking County's Public Sculpture," a presentation by artist John Paul Peralta. The event, which is free and open to all, will be held on Monday, October 21, at 7 p.m., in the Founders Hall Auditorium on the Ohio State Newark/COTC shared campus, 1179 University Drive, Newark.

Through his work at Cleveland's The Sculpture Center, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and during a residence at the American Pavilion at the 58th Venice Art Biennale, Peralta has extensively explored the concepts of outdoor sculpture and public art and their influence on community.

"Public outdoor sculpture has been a major part of civilized culture since prehistory," said Peralta. "Objects from all over the world indicate that centers of the community — whether they be village squares, town hall buildings or religious shrines — have always incorporated sculptural elements to signify what is important to a community. Thus, such public monuments have an implied responsibility to the community."

During his presentation, Peralta will discuss how many of Licking County's sculptures depict figures without any obvious tie to the region, yet connect the audience to larger cultural themes and settings. Peralta will also explore how Licking County's collection fits into, or conversely stands in contrast to, current trends in outdoor sculpture programs. Finally, he will discuss how understanding the site, scale and content of each sculpture fashions the overall collection into a valuable program of public art and is critical to building an experience of these artworks for residents and visitors alike.

Peralta is currently a teaching artist and Warshawski Fellow at the Cleveland Museum of Art. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and Theatre from Case Western University.

Central Ohio Technical College and The Ohio State University at Newark have forged an outstanding array of educational opportunities for the central Ohio region and beyond. This partnership is viewed as a model for higher education in the state of Ohio. At Central Ohio Technical College, students gain hands-on, applicable experience to begin working in the field, or to transfer those credits toward a bachelor's degree program. The Ohio State University at Newark offers an academic environment that's inclusive of diversity, challenging but supportive with world-renowned professors and access to Ohio State's more than 200 majors.

Caption: A portion of the Circle of Friends sculpture at Ohio State Newark/COTC.